Disclaimer: I wrote this article a while back and only got to publish it now, so any time discrepancy between the airing of the Warcraft movie and the release of this piece is due to this.
So, I went to see the Warcraft movie this weekend as a fan of the franchise. I have been playing the game since Warcraft II. Though I don’t remember the story from then, you should still consider my opinions biased as I am familiar with the setting itself. That being said, what the fuck are the critics bitching about? This movie isn’t hard to understand. The fact that Orcs had their own language threw you off? Please, watch some more fantasy. Neither is the acting overdone.
Before reading further, know that this article (or rant, more like) will contain spoilers for the movie Warcraft: The Beginning.
I barely remember the story of Warcraft I (the game), so I guess you could say I went into this movie fresh. I only heard of characters like Garona in screenshots from World of Warcraft (which I haven’t played) and know Anduin Lothar mostly in name and that what was his fate at the end of Beyond the Dark Portal in Warcraft II. King Llane, I only heard from in a novel I read about Khadgar’s apprenticeship to Medivh, so you can safely say I’m not very good with that time period.
The only plot changes I was aware of was that Khadgar was supposed to have been at Kharazan and already begun training as the next Guardian, instead of having been locked up after trying to examine a victim of Fel magic. I read all over the Internet that there were some plot changes, but I’m not aware of what they are, but I digress.
Those saying the movie was really hard to understand, I wonder whether you understood the Lord of the Rings movies without having read the books. I was quite young when those came out and remember that a lot of things felt unexplained, but it didn’t stop me from understanding the movie. The plot of Warcraft: The Beginning is painfully simple – greenskins want to invade Azeroth because power-hungry leader wants power. Greenskins fuck shit up so pink skins fight back. That one smart pink skin notices booboo magic and urges pink skin big boss to summon pink skin big protector. Everything else is easy to understand from there on. What’s complicated about that? You are told repeatedly that Fel magic is bad, and that Medivh is not at the top of his game.
I’ll grant you that the movie is far from perfect. In my opinion it suffers from some of the same ‘flaws’ (if you can call those that) as the Lord of the Rings movies in that there are a lot of things that are unexplained. But again, this doesn’t prevent you from understanding the plot. We all wanted to know what kind of hybrid Garona is, but does that prevent the plot from making sense? Hardly. Whether she’s half-human or half-draenei had zero bearing on the plot. If it’s of any significance in the next Warcraft movie, then it’ll be pertinent information.
If you must know, there are two things I didn’t like about the film. Medivh’s motivations are never made clear in the movie and the son of Lothar being used as a plot device. The latter especially felt pointless since Lothar already had a reason to want to fight the Horde; defend his King and his people. But that’s about it. If I re-watch the movie I might find more things to dislike. But from the criticisms it got, it’s almost as though people wanted to hate it.
On reading some of the reviews criticising the film, it just seems as though they had too high an expectation. After the dull, uninspired story of Starcraft II, I’m unable to see Blizzard Entertainment as interesting storytellers. Maybe my expectations were unconsciously low? Whatever the case may be, I’m glad the movie did well in China. This means sequel.